NewsLinks is a collection of recent news items relating primarily to the California judicial branch. NewsLinks does not verify nor endorse the accuracy or fairness of the news items, and the views expressed in opinions, editorials, and commentaries are those of the writers only.
Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday signed Assembly Bill 3366, which, effective immediately, allows California’s Chief Justice to issue — on their own — statewide emergency orders concerning trial court operations, such as extending various statutory deadlines. The legislation amends Government Code section 68115, which had limited the Chief Justice to making emergency orders only on a county-by-county basis and only at the request of a county superior court’s presiding judge.
Any number of homeless programs may be funded by these dollars, including a new mental health crisis team to respond to non-violent altercations involving unhoused populations, replacing what has traditionally been a law enforcement response.
Brazile said pandemic closures pushed Los Angeles County Superior Court staff to accelerate the adoption of technology for remote visual and audio appearances, squeezing 18 months of work into three. Remote options are now available but can’t be mandated, he said.
The webinar, billed as the Appellate Project's "virtual launch," featured judges speaking from remote locations about their own paths to state and federal appellate bench and the role diversity and multiculturalism play a role in their work.
(Subscription required) The state Supreme Court opened up as much as $300 million to fund homelessness programs in San Francisco by declining to review a case over the proper voting threshold for citizen-proposed tax measures, but anti-tax advocates wary of potential abuse are arguing the issue remains undecided.
(Subscription required) Santa Clara County Superior Court judges have appointed veteran criminal defense and family law attorney Erik S. Johnson a commissioner, where he is handling his assignments in civil court in person despite the pandemic.
(Subscription required) Previously he presided over felony hearings and trials at the Airport Courthouse. One of his last cases involved the murder trial of real estate heir Robert Durst, who was the focus of the 2015 HBO TV miniseries "The Jinx."
Top-ranked California scored in the top five in three categories: socioeconomic diversity, household diversity and cultural diversity. The state scored highest of any state for linguistic diversity, part of the cultural category. Hawaii ranked third overall, in part from its top score in racial and ethnic diversity.
President Trump’s 11th-hour order to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census, a move that could strip House seats and federal funding from states like California with large immigrant populations, violates long-standing law that requires the population count to include “the whole number of persons in each state,” a federal court ruled Thursday.
Tenants have been rallying across the country, including in San Diego, where Patricia Mendoza, a single mother of two who’s lived in fear since losing her job, spoke in front of the downtown courthouse. She says she waited months to start receiving unemployment benefits, and her bills continued to mount.
Judge Jeremy Fogel said Wednesday that his colleagues on the bench face a couple of “unique challenges” when it comes to evaluating their own temperament and thinking about how their deep-seated traits come to bear on their work in the courtroom.
“It simply means that we will have to start the litigation by filing our claims in the Superior Courts because the court is not willing to permit this case to skip the lower courts,” Tyler said. “Once we proceed through the normal process, we believe we will still be victorious in the end.”
(Subscription required) Orange County Superior Court judges unanimously elected Erick L. Larsh as presiding judge and Maria D. Hernandez as assistant presiding judge in an uncontested election, the court announced Wednesday.
With his signing of Assembly Bill 2257, Californians working jobs as diverse as musician, photographers, registered professional foresters, home inspectors, narrators, cartographers and some landscapers are freed from the confines of the destructive AB5.
(Subscription required) The bar leases parts of the building to retailers and office tenants. Because of the pandemic, several of the tenants have indicated they will need less space when their contracts expire in 2021, Mazer told the committee.
The state Supreme Court cleared the way Wednesday for San Francisco to fund programs for the homeless with hundreds of millions of dollars in business taxes approved by a majority of city voters in 2018 — it’s an important case for tax measures on local ballots throughout California.
Advocates have asked the California court to consider diploma privilege before, but their suggestions were rebuffed in mid-July, when the court ordered a two-day online test in October, and authorized a provisional licensing plan that allows some law school graduates to practice temporarily before passing the test.
About 100 protesters formed an “eviction blockade” in front of the Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday to protest evictions, provide support for tenants in the form of legal advice and access to representatives from tenant unions and encourage tenants to fight for their rights.
Attorneys who defended Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that temporarily outlawed same-sex marriage in California, pleaded with a federal appeals court Wednesday to keep under wraps a video recording of the trial that declared the law unconstitutional.
Without getting too bogged down in the details, the thing to know is that renters who lost income due to the pandemic are safe for now. If they can’t pay all of their rent, their landlords may not evict them. Landlords can still evict tenants who break the rules or don’t pay their rent for other reasons.
On the first day that California’s eviction courts reopened, landlords pulling up to the Carol Miller Courthouse in Sacramento were met by a crowd of protestors in front of the doors. Anyone planning to drop off an unlawful detainer order, better known as an eviction filing, would have to press through a gauntlet of chanting demonstrators.
After several largely successful months of preventing an outbreak of the virus among the jail’s incarcerated population, that streak appears to be over, as cases continue to multiply rapidly inside the walls of the jail.
(Subscription required) While courtrooms in the Salinas criminal courthouse do have Plexiglas coverings around the judge, Crawford said judges are still required to wear a mask under a county ordinance. Further, he said the danger of COVID-19 in the county has only increased in recent months.
(Subscription required) Jurors in Los Angeles County's first trial since March decided their verdict in 90 minutes by midday Thursday but had to go home and return Friday because they incorrectly filled out the verdict forms three times.
(Subscription required) "I remind them they can't talk to each other and I tell them, 'What you're doing now isn't helpful,'" the judge explained. "What I'm trying to do is get them on a new path, set up a new dynamic. We're going to leave all that stuff in the past."
The California Supreme Court is as diverse in its composition — politically, racially and sexually — as the U.S. Supreme Court. But one attribute the state justices have that their national counterparts apparently lack is an ability to reach consensus — this year, almost 90% of their rulings have been unanimous.
More than anything, court leaders need to come together and coordinate a thoughtful response to operating during the pandemic so all 58 counties in the state can act in unison. Then our courts can get back to business — and not a moment too soon.